The word Kathakali is a combination of two words – katha, meaning story, and kali, meaning performance. So it means a story which is performed. It is one of the classical dance forms of India, and comes from the State of Kerala. […]
Panchavati is a very important place in the Ramayana. It was the place chosen by Lord Rama to stay during his exile from Ayodhya. It was a beautiful place. It got its name from five banyan trees growing there, which are known as ‘vati’ in the local language. Panch Vati means five banyan trees. The River Godavari flowed nearby. Events that happened there led up to Lord Rama’s war with the forces of Ravana, king of Lanka. […]
The Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, Punjab, also known as Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib, is considered the most sacred place by followers of the Sikh religion. The temple itself is only part of the huge complex, which includes a man-made lake, a very important part of the complex. It is known as Amrit Sarovar, or the Lake of Holy Nectar. Amritsar takes its name from the lake. Devotees come from all over the world to have a dip in the Sarovar. […]
Kalamkari is an art that was perfected around 3000 years ago! Traditionally, it’s done with organic dyes on cloth, using twigs as pens and brushes. It’s a complicated process involving more than 20 steps. Only some people in some regions of India know how to do it. […]
Hastinapur is a town near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. It is an ordinary place now, but it is believed that at one time it was the capital of one of the greatest kingdoms of ancient India.
It is among the most important places mentioned in the Mahabharata, the story of the Kauravas and the Pandavas, two sets of cousins who were rivals. It was the capital of the Kauravas initially. After the Pandavas defeated the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war, they made Hastinapur the capital of their new kingdom too. […]
Gokarna is a small town in Karnataka which has always been famous for its temples, and has now also become famous for its beaches.
The Mahabaleswar Temple here, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is considered very holy. It is called the Dakshina Kasi, or Kasi of the south, because it is as important as the Shiva temple in Kasi. According to legend, the Linga, the symbol of Shiva which is worshipped here, was brought directly from Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva. […]
One of the oldest and holiest temples in India is the Vaishno Devi Temple. It is actually a cave temple, located on the Trikut mountain on the foothills of the Himalayas in Jammu. Interestingly, there are no idols in this temple, but a rock formation which is five-and-a-half feet tall, with three ‘heads’ or pindis, which is worshipped. Devotees believe that Vaishno Devi is a manifestation of Goddess Parvathi, or Shakti. […]
In India, it is common to see a line of footwear outside the front doors of homes, and also outside temples and other places of worship. Have you ever wondered why we take off our shoes at the doorstep, not only of the homes which we visit, but also of our own homes? […]
Pattachitra is a special form of painting done in Odisha. Patta can be translated as canvas, and chitra means painting. So Pattachitras are paintings done on canvas. But you don’t get these canvases in art stores. They have to be specially prepared by hand, and the process takes a lot of time.
The colours have also to be hand-made. Only 100% natural dyes are used. The base for the paints is the gum of the Kaitha tree. Different things are added to get different colours. Powdered conch shells are used to make white, lamp soot gives black, a stone called harikala is powdered to make yellow, and so on. The root of the Keya plant is used as a brush. […]
Hindu mythology speaks of a great churning of the Ocean of Milk to get Amritham or the nectar of immortality, a precious liquid which would give anyone who drank it everlasting life. There was a battle between the Devas or heavenly beings, and the Assuras or demons. The Devas had been weakened by a sage’s curse. Vishnu advised them to join hands with the Assuras, and churn the Ocean of Milk to find Amritham. The deal was that the nectar would be shared by the Devas and Assuras, but Vishnu promised that he would see that only the Devas got it, so that the demons wouldn’t gain control. […]